In an industry that continues to gatekeep success from women — especially women of color — here at Holistic Solutions, we believe that it is crucial to support women who have made their name in legal cannabis while encouraging other women of color to do the same.
In this blog, we will shine a light on the diverse women making waves in the cannabis industry and leading the way for future BIPOC women to follow in their footsteps.
Frederika McClary Easley is the director of strategic initiatives at the People’s Group Fund, which is an organization that centers, engages and invests in BIPOC and women-led cannabis/ancillary businesses.
She has spent much of her working life advocating for labor rights and fighting for racial equity in the cannabis space to counteract the damage The War on Drugs has done to communities of color.
Christine De La Rosa is a co-partner at The People’s Group Fund who joined the cannabis industry after cannabis provided her relief from her severe battle with lupus.
She opened The People’s Dispensary in Oakland, CA in 2015, and she quickly learned how women and women of color were disproportionally supported in the cannabis industry. Thus, The People’s Group Fund was born.
Holistic Solutions’ very own founder and owner Suzan Nickelson became one of the one of the first minority and female business owners to be granted a medical marijuana license in 2018. This year, Holistic Solutions became the first minority and female-owned recreational cannabis dispensary in New Jersey.
Nickelson is also the founder of Ital Daughters LLC, a cannabis and hemp consulting company, which specializes in assisting minorities, women, and veterans along with local municipalities and stakeholders in understanding the compliance and regulatory aspects of the industry.
This mother-daughter duo opened their dispensary Gorilla Rx Wellness Co in South LA in 2021. Their vision was to curate a space that had open, inviting and community-centric interiors aimed at appealing to a broad range of Black customers, including elders.
Keith’s father was Rastafarian, and cannabis was used in their family for spiritual and healing purposes. “It was really important that we created a space that was welcoming and inviting to our elders in the community and that had the ability to be wellness-focused and erase the stigma,” Keith told The Guardian.
Kassia Graham is a two-time cancer survivor and the director of community and strategy at Cannaclusive, an organization that aims to facilitate fair representation of minority cannabis consumers.
Graham helps the co-founders of Cannaclusive build initiatives including diversity and inclusion, content creation, experiential events, marketing, branding, social media, and advocacy.
Mennlay Golokeh Aggrey is the author of The Art of Weed Butter, a cookbook centered around canna-butter. In the Instagram post announcing her book, she wrote, “I wrote this to help aid my mother’s menopausal symptoms. I wrote this for the black folks who make up less than 5% of founders and business owners in the cannabis space—for the elderly, queer, incarcerated, disabled, Afro Mexican, curious, and poor. Everyday people wanting to heal.”
She pledged her first royalties check to The National Bailout to help mothers get out of jails and migrant detention centers.
Paulette Simone is a licensed social worker and the founder of Canna Heals, which focuses on providing education on the healing properties of cannabis. Their goal is to end the stigma surrounding cannabis through education and research-based course materials.
Sarah Kiah Morton is the President and co-owner of LOCKGREEN, a 100% Black-owned, Virginia-based company selling locking, smell-proof, and water-resistant stash boxes and ancillary products. Her goal is to provide protection, promote safety, and support the values of responsible cannabis consumers. LOCKGREEN products are carefully curated to be used for secure storage and travel.
Kim Napoli is the Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for the leading cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg LLP, where she assists clients in the creation, implementation, and progress made toward their goals related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Kim has served on the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission’s Cannabis Advisory Board as the appointed expert in minority business development since 2017. In 2021, she joined the U.S. Cannabis Council’s Task Force, which works to shatter barriers to access for Black entrepreneurs.
Caroline Phillips is the founder of the National Cannabis Festival, which is now the largest ticketed cannabis event in the nation. Located in DC, her event draws thousands of visitors and has celebrity performances, like Juicy J and 2 Chainz, as well as wellness workshops and expert panels to educate attendees about cannabis and the cannabis industry.
Amber Senter is the founder and CEO of MAKR House, a distribution and infused cannabis products company. She has three brands of cannabis products under MAKR House: Landrace Origins Goods + Supply, Disco Jays, and Tiger’s Eye Migars.
She is also co-founder, Chair of the Board, and Executive Director of Supernova Women, a non-profit for people of color in cannabis which focuses on education, advocacy, and network building.
Nina Parks is a cannabis activist and co-founder of Supernova Women and the Equity Trade Network. She is an expert in cannabis, cannabis policy and social equity in the emergent cannabis industry, and in 2018, High Times Magazine named her one of the High Times’ 100 top influential people in cannabis of that year.
She offers consulting for individuals, businesses and local/state leadership about cannabis brand development, culture, and community benefits.
Whitney Beatty is the CEO of Apothecarry, a cannabis accessory brand, co-founder and CEO of Josephine & Billie’s, a cannabis speakeasy in LA, and a proud mom.
She also serves as a board member for Supernova Women. With an Instagram handle like @thehighmommylife, she is living proof that you can be a professional in the cannabis space while also being an outstanding mother.